-Eleanor Perenyi Green Thoughts - A Writer in the Garden (1981) p. 102
Sounds like something you might read today. Maybe in Organic Gardening magazine or the New York Times. Eleanor, born in 1918, was far ahead of her time.
She is completely right in defending genetic diversity, but I think we need to take it one step further. It's not enough to just grow the rare varieties, like watermelon radishes and Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. We need to continue to seek out well adapted individuals and save their seed. Plagues rise and fall and we, as gardeners and farmers, the caretakers of the earth, must be on the lookout for those plants that have the ability to sustain us through whatever may come. I'm not proclaiming an imminent doomsday here, but I do think this is an important issue. Maybe someone had a tomato plant in their garden on the east coast that was not affected by late blight, when all the others were. Wouldn't that be incredible?!
I personally haven't been successful at hybridizing vegetables. I tried it with my tomatoes this year, but to no avail. (Though I've been successful with fuchsias.) Others say it's easy to do with peas and squash, though.
We really shouldn't depend on seed companies to do all of the seed saving for us...most of those companies are owned by Monsanto, anyway. If you don't want to hybridize, try simply saving your own seeds, it's fun. As an added bonus, it creates a bit of that "stick it to the man" kind of feeling.
Oh yeah, Monsanto? You think you can make me pay you for your stupid, tasteless, F1 seeds?
HaHaHa, I've outsmarted you! So, take this!